HOUSTON — The return of Houston Texans All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson will be delayed from hitting the field at least one more week and possibly longer.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak confirmed Friday that Johnson would miss Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns, meaning Houston’s primary playmaker will miss his fifth straight game with lingering issues from a minor hamstring surgery last month.
Johnson returned to practice last week for the first time, but after working out with the team Monday, he was held out of the two heaviest practices of the week Wednesday and Thursday because of soreness in the hamstring. Kubiak said Johnson did work out Friday with the training staff.
“But obviously, he’s not ready to go yet, so once again we got to have guys step up and this team’s got to continue to rally together and take up for his absence,” Kubiak said. “He’s very close.”
What exactly "close" means still remains unclear. The Texans and Johnson are non-committal about a possible return next week at Tampa Bay. If he doesn’t play, then that would give Johnson two extra weeks of rest. Johnson was slated to miss 4 to 6 weeks when he injured the hamstring in the Oct. 9 game against the Oakland Raiders.
The wise decision seems to be resting Johnson for the next two weeks because the AFC South-leading Texans (5-3, 3-0) should be able to defeat the Browns and Buccaneers without their best receiver.
“To be honest, I haven’t really targeted any date,” Johnson said Friday. “I thought I would be back playing by now. I’m not, so right now I just really can’t set a date. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
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